Tuesday, June 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Kandela crisis: who is to blame?

From Dr D. R. Chaudhary's article (June 3), it is clear that the genesis of the peasants' crisis in Haryana lies in their poor socio-economic conditions and an equally poor governance. I hold a slightly different view as I feel the present leadership alone is more responsible for the entire episode.

Of course for many, it may appear quite absurd that Haryana farmers are agitating not to pay electricity bills because for a right-thinking individual a consumer should pay for the goods and services he consumes and enjoys. And so is apparently true for these farmers too, but that is not this agitation all about.

If we go slightly back when farmers were killed in police firings at Kadam village of Bhiwani district in a similar agitation during Mr Bansi Lal's regime, it was the INLD who not only promised the then agitating farmers with free electricity but also supplied them with electric diesel generators, asking them not to pay their electricity bills. While at that time Mr Bansi Lal kept on saying that it was not possible for any government to waive off the electricity dues, Mr Chautala simply refuted his arguments citing the example of his father's loan-waiver poll plank. Mr Chautala, on certain other occasions too, has been saying on record that once he returns to power, he shall waive off all their power dues.

Ever since the farmers in various parts of Haryana have not been paying their bills with the hope that once Chautala's INLD came to power, their dues shall be waived off.


As they prayed and expected Mr Chautala became the Chief Minister of the State and it was now his turn to fulfill his promise.

However, quite unexpectedly, all of their hopes were belied when he turned away his face from this issue. He soon realised that such a thing is not possible. For these innocent and gullible Haryana farmers, his promise of free power turned out to be an usual pre-poll bluff. The issue is not the payment of bills now as almost 75 per cent of the farmers have already paid their dues. The basic issue is that many families of these farmers have been ruined with the death of the head of their households, while many of their bread earners are behind bars. They are now rightly demanding adequate compensation and withdrawal of court cases.

Dr D.P. SINGH MOR, Bass, Hisar

Passing the buck

This refers to Mr Bansi Lal’s letter “Politicians of all hues” (June 4). How easy it is to come out clean and put the blame on others. No doubt Mr. Bansi Lal never made any promise for free electricity, but does that solve the problem? He went ahead and promised 24 hours power during his last tenure. This seemed a nice move until the promise was broken on June 30,1999. This showed the total absence of knowledge both on technical and administrative structure of power production and distribution on his part.

Mr Bansi Lal should have gone to farmers and explained them that paid electricity for 24 hours is better than free power for eight hours. But he never did that. Maybe he feared this will shatter his self-image of “stubborn-Jat” borne out during the Emergency days. He failed to understand the ramifications, ground realities and technical difficulties for generation of enough power supply for 24 hours. He never made an attempt to try and raise the income of farmers so that they themselves pay the power bills.

Mr Bansi Lal may have not ignited the fire but he also never called the fire brigade. The result: the problem is still there and farmers who were earlier killed in Mandhiali are now killed in Kandela.

Hence, I would still like to put him in “politicians of all hues”.



Govt schools: image and performance

The zero per cent result shown by many government schools in Himachal Pradesh, though they are equipped with all facilities is a matter of serious concern. It needs the immediate attention of all concerned. It has put a big question mark on the credibility and capability of the teachers.

The syllabi of Plus 1 and Plus 2 classes is very wide and of very high standard. The teachers who had served in some other department for 20 to 25 years or a teacher who teaches one subject for 15 to 20 years and made lecturer for some other subject cannot do justice to the job. This may be one of the reasons for the poor performance of students in the annual examination.

The second major reason is that today educational institutions are no more sacred seats of learning but hotbed of politics. As a result, senior, sincere, intelligent and dedicated teachers feel cheated. This has ultimately affected their working and the losers are the students.

There may be other reasons too, but these are the major reasons for the poor performance. Consequently, for the betterment of education, we have to formulate and implement decisions which are not beneficial for individuals but for students and the education system as a whole.



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